Loyola Football Spring Practice Commences on May 14

Loyola's defense under first year head coach, DR. RICARDO PEDROARIAS, allowed fewer points per game than any Cub 'Wolkpack' unit since 2004, which was the last year of the legendary STEVE GRADY's three-decade tenure as the steward of Cub Football. Ironically, the return to the famed Loyola '5-2' scheme run and honed by the late, great Cub d-coordinator JON DAWSON in 1973, and installed by new DC MIKE GILHOOLY last fall, played a major role in the Loyola's defensive turn around in 2017. Expect similar defensive performance this fall from the Cub 'Wolfpack'. Pedroarias, who will take on the role of offensive coordinator, is determined to increase offensive production.

Next Monday, the 2018 edition of Loyola football will commence spring practice, and there will be some personnel changes that will give the Cubs a chance to improve upon their 2017 effort which culminated in a 5-5 ledger, with three close defeats coming by a combined total of just ten points. There were some graduation losses which will be tough to overcome, but there is a strong nucleus of talented and tough players who should thrive in the second year under the new culture that is awakening echoes of Cub Football's storied championship legacy.

Among the players that Pedroarias lauded for their hard work and leadership in the weight room since the 2017 campaign ended were seniors-to-be MARCUS AGUILAR (FB/LB), ALEX BLAKE (WR/S), CHASE BRANIGAN (LB), SCOTT KASE (DL), COLE MILLER (NG) and ESUS JIMENEZ Y WEST, juniors BARRET KELLY (OL), SAM DOMINGUEZ (OL), BRENDAN PERNECKY (OL) and sophomore ZAKHARI SPEARS (WR/DB). Each of them is expected to play a major role in the fortunes of this fall's campaign.

Aguilar (6-1, 216) has been moved from the defensive line to inside linebacker, a post at which he excelled as a freshman and sophomore. He is expected to create thunder in the box along with fellow senior-to-be inside linebacker Chase Branigan (5-9, 192). Kase (6-2, 222) is an impact player on the defensive line and Blake is a stalwart safety and excellent wide receiver.

Returning starting senior quarterback NATHAN PRIESTLEY (6-4, 207) was recently cleared for action after suffering an injury during league play last season. In the summer before his junior campaign, Priestley was named the MVP of both the Cal and Washington camps. He is flourishing under the tutelage of first year quarterbacks coach ARMIN YOUNGLBLOOD. The 6' 4" gunslinger is getting looks from, among others, UCLA, Oregon State, Colorado state and Wyoming. Word is spreading about his prowess behind center, and it won't take long before other major college programs jump on the Priestley band wagon, notwithstanding that he missed a good portion of his junior season.

Senior starting kicker NICHOLAS BARR-MIRA is one of the top kickers in the state.

Coach Pedroarias anticipates that the strengths of his second varsity squad will include the running back, defensive line and inside linebacker platoons. He is also optimistic about the prospects for improved offensive line play. Beginning in June, Loyola will host four-team seven-on-seven contests against multiple other programs on Thursdays. The head coach welcomes all alumni to attend spring practices and the seven-on-seven contests.

Former Cub standout Coleman Shelton signs with NFL's San Francisco '49ers
Former Loyola offensive lineman COLEMAN SHELTON '13, an All-Pac 12 First Team center for the University of Washington in 2017 agreed to terms with the NFL's San Francisco '49ers as an undrafted free agent following last month's NFL Draft.

Shelton started 40 consecutive games for the Huskies in his last three seasons at Washington and played in all 13 games, seven as a starter, as a redshirt freshman in 2014. He played multiple offensive line positions for the Huskies before finally settling in at center, where he was a Rimington Award Finalist. As a senior, Shelton won both the John P. Angel Lineman of the Year Award and Academic Achievement Award. He also won the team's lineman of the year award as a sophomore. Shelton was an All-Academic Pac-12 honorable mention selection as well.

Two more Loyola players make college football commitments, seven graduating Cubs to play collegiate football
Loyola senior defensive back DEAMIL AGUILAR and senior center TY MAHAR have committed to the University of La Verne and Colby College, respectively. The duo brings the total of graduating players who will continue their football careers at the collegiate level to seven, joining wide receiver/defensive back  ALEX JOHNSON (UCLA), linebacker JORDAN McMILLAN (USC), wide receiver/outside linebacker DAKOTA SMITH (South Dakota State), linebacker TOMMY VANIS (Cal) and lineman BRAYDEN UTLEY (Baylor).

Cub grad listed among top 150 college football players to watch in 2018
Former Loyola defensive end CHRISTIAN RECTOR '15 was listed by NFL.com as one of the top 150 college football players to watch for this coming season. He is a redshirt defensive lineman at USC, which, with incoming freshman Jordan McMillan, will have five former Cubs on its roster